The Phantom of the Opera

Discussion of musicals other than Les Misérables.
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Prisoner 24653
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:47 am

_23623_ wrote:
Auf die Barrikaden wrote:As to his Javert: I'm not too fond of tenors for the role in general, and I think he kind of started that for me.

Sorry for the off-topic trivia but...
Why is he a tenor??? :shock:

I don't want to believe this as he doesn't seem to handle the high notes well. But my question is a sincere one without any sarcasm; I honestly don't know how to classify people into different voice types even though I searched "voice type" in wikipedia immediately after reading this post. Could someone please educate me?


Hehe... Simple question, but it's taken me a while to figure out how to word the answer. Basically, even though Uwe Kröger doesn't seem to be able to hit the high notes like he used to, his comfortable range tends to be higher than that of baritones (e.g. Philip Quast, Earl Carpenter, Michael McCarthy, and so on). What voice type someone is tends to be more about where the voice comfortably sits than it is about the highest and lowest notes they can sing well. Listening to Kröger as Javert compared to someone who's definitely a baritone (like Quast... or, for a German example, Hartwig Rudolz), Kröger's voice seems higher and lighter even though he's singing in the same range as the other Javerts. Hope this explanation helped; and if you have more questions, feel free to ask! :D

Back on topic...
Prisoner 24653 wrote:Speaking of POTO in German... The Hamburg revival transferred to Oberhausen, and interestingly, they've cast Americans to play the Phantom and Christine -- Brent Barrett, who played the role in Las Vegas in 2006-07 (alternating with Anthony Crivello until Barrett left the production and Crivello became the lone principal Phantom there for the rest of the production's run); and Elizabeth Welch, who had been the Christine understudy in the old US Tour and then on Broadway. I'm really liking Welch in German; she sounds like a natural. Barrett, though... In the boots I've heard, he's all over the place with pitch, and his grasp of the language needs a lot of work. Even though I don't speak the language and most of what I know comes from recordings of musicals, his mistakes are pretty clear to me. :(
The Mirror -- Nicky Wuchinger, Elizabeth Welch
Final Lair Scene -- Brent Barrett, Daniela Braun, Max Niemeyer

Don't speak German either and the majority of my German knowledge comes from musicals as well. It seems that non-native speakers are quite common in German musicals and I sometimes doubt whether they really understand what they're singing. :lol: Can't judge their German in the links, but the overacting is so obvious in both audios that I can detect it even without any image. :|


Hehe, true. I'm a big fan of Lyn Liechty, who is American but has performed in a few German-language shows. She apparently doesn't speak the language, and learned the roles phonetically (much like how Kaho Shimada learned to sing Éponine in English for the Complete Symphonic Recording of LM).

Heh... An audio clip has surfaced of Ben Forster, the new Phantom in London. I have some thoughts on that, but feel free to check out the clip before I spill. lol

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby 23623 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:11 am

Prisoner 24653 wrote:Hehe... Simple question, but it's taken me a while to figure out how to word the answer. Basically, even though Uwe Kröger doesn't seem to be able to hit the high notes like he used to, his comfortable range tends to be higher than that of baritones (e.g. Philip Quast, Earl Carpenter, Michael McCarthy, and so on). What voice type someone is tends to be more about where the voice comfortably sits than it is about the highest and lowest notes they can sing well. Listening to Kröger as Javert compared to someone who's definitely a baritone (like Quast... or, for a German example, Hartwig Rudolz), Kröger's voice seems higher and lighter even though he's singing in the same range as the other Javerts. Hope this explanation helped; and if you have more questions, feel free to ask! :D

Hehe, true. I'm a big fan of Lyn Liechty, who is American but has performed in a few German-language shows. She apparently doesn't speak the language, and learned the roles phonetically (much like how Kaho Shimada learned to sing Éponine in English for the Complete Symphonic Recording of LM).

Heh... An audio clip has surfaced of Ben Forster, the new Phantom in London. I have some thoughts on that, but feel free to check out the clip before I spill. lol


Your explanation is clear enough. So clear that I can understand perfectly without listening to Uwert. Thank you very much. :wink:

The CSR Éponine is my favorite among all Eppies I've watched and listened to!

Wait what? You're a fan of Lyn Liechty? *Hugs Prisoner 24653*
I'm also a huge fan of...um, well..."the girl who is obviously not German but performs in Dracula as Mina and whose incredibly beautiful voice makes me still stick to a musical I don't like that much and dying to see her as Sarah with the original Alfred because that's gonna be cute and whose name I JUST DON'T KNOW!" Yes. That was how I fangirl her before. Happened to know her name today and my life is almost complete. :D

Back on topic...(Oops...do I carry some kind of digression virus which automatically connects every post to TdV? But I think you might tolerate that...right?)
Oh, right, no spoilers, so...
Oh my God his high notes and pronunciation... But strangely, there's something in him that reminds me of Crawford. I think there is a slight chance that I might end up liking him but he really needs lots of improvement...
The Christine sounds as if she had trouble catching her breathe all the time, haha!
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:59 pm

Hehe, wow. It took me a shamefully long time to realize that you had 'spoilered' the text by making it white. I only just now read your thoughts on the new London cast! *hands over online proficiency badge* :oops:

But yeah... Vocally, there are a few things I like about Ben. Acting-wise, though, he seems way too campy in the role for my taste. And that seems to have been a problem with a lot of Phantoms in the past few years. Is attempting to be natural/realistic in the part no longer considered "cool" nowadays?

There's been some news about the French production set to open in October, as well! A nearly full cast list has been posted here. I say "nearly" because they're still not saying who will be playing the Phantom. Also, Sierra Boggess will be the main Christine. (Again with American performers being cast in foreign-language productions!) And though I generally like Sierra as Christine, it would have been nice to see a French actress debut the show in the country where the story was born... Ah, well. And I must admit I don't know any of the other people listed in the cast... Then again, I haven't really kept up with French musical productions other than LM. (Still need to hear their TdV production -- yes, I brought it up again!) Hope the cast as a whole will be great, and that they'll release some kind of professional recording for it. :D

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby 23623 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:08 pm

Haha I used to pay special attention to averting spoilers but I don't do that very often now :D
Prisoner 24653 wrote:But yeah... Vocally, there are a few things I like about Ben. Acting-wise, though, he seems way too campy in the role for my taste. And that seems to have been a problem with a lot of Phantoms in the past few years. Is attempting to be natural/realistic in the part no longer considered "cool" nowadays?

Agreed. This is exactly why I don't like POTO as much as I could have. I was introduced by the 25AC and was taken aback by the amount of overacting. Later I discovered OLC, which I loved more than I could describe, and assumed that overacting existed only in 25AC. Then there came the bootlegs and I knew I was totally wrong. Everybody overacts in POTO! :(

So a friend of mine just saw POTO in West End. She absolutely loved Ben and that Raoul (whose name I forget) and said that their singing and acting were both amazing. Her judgments may not be highly reliable though considering she's completely new to this show and musical theater in general. But that does make me wonder if different perceptions are due to the fact that audience may not be as rational and critical in a theater as they are in front of a computer watching a bootleg.

And really looking forward to French POTO! Haven't listened to POTO in any other language besides English and German but I guess French POTO would be awesome. [digression]I know there's a French version of TdV but I never find any full-show video. Seriously I want to watch this show in every language available but my wish list is getting way too long...I really adore Pour Sarah though. This song sounds beautiful in French even with a mediocre Alfred![/digression] There are some wonderful French musicals as well if you wish to give them a look *points at that non-English musical thread* :D
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:55 am

Heh, yeah... I think seeing a show live probably tends to give people a really different impression from watching boots, and it may vary for different people. It might be because people are less critical when they're seeing it live... or it may be that when we're watching boots, we get a closer view much of the time, and so every little thing the performers do jumps out at us. And some actors seem to come across better in one format than the other -- I didn't like Anthony Crivello's Phantom in boots, but he became one of my favorites when I saw him live. And then there were those for whom better quality or more recent recordings kinda wrecked my perception of them -- Anthony Warlow and Yuichiro Yamaguchi, whose voices I always loved, went down a ways on my list when I actually got to see boots, though maybe I'd feel differently if I saw them live. And then there was the time I really liked John Cudia on a boot, but then didn't like him quite as much live because the boot spoiled me and I was too used to his way of playing the role. So yeah... We hardcore fans who watch/collect boots can be tough to please. :lol: And POTO is, by its nature, a good deal more melodramatic than many other megamusicals, so there's that as well.

So, on that French production... Over the weekend, there was a disaster at Théâtre Mogador. Apparently, there was a fire that damaged the stage and some of the set pieces. Thus, the opening of the show has been postponed until further notice (though the production hasn't been cancelled). Hopefully, they're able to sort things out so that the production can happen soon.

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby CC21106 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:52 pm

I just watched it online. Excellent high school productions. Where are they getting those singers? Not to mention that chandelier. I know my high school could never do that. However, the show didn't do it for me. Fine music but the story just didn't inspire any emotion. If I saw it live, it might be different.
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby humanracer » Thu May 11, 2017 9:56 pm

Saw this yesterday. The music, main theme aside, is nowhere near as memorable as Les Misérables but production wise it's better. I understand now why I hated the movie. POTO really needs to be seen on the stage. It's a great spectacle. It made me fall in love with theatre even more.

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Fri May 12, 2017 2:41 am

Heh... oh yeah. I don't consider the movie to be a good adaptation of the stage show at all. The 25th anniversary concert is somewhat better, but it really demands the live experience (with a good cast, naturally). Preferably the "replica" versions on the West End, Broadway, and some other places, rather than the new tour; though the tour has its moments.

So although the French-language production in Paris ended up not happening, and nothing else about that has been announced so far, there have been some videos posted of a cabaret performance featuring several French singers doing musical theatre pieces. These include Manon Taris (who would have been the understudy Christine) and Bastien Jacquemart (Raoul) singing three of the songs from POTO in French! They can be viewed here, along with other songs that were done at the event. I wonder if this may be a sign of anything...

Also, Sierra Boggess posted a video on Facebook of a concert she did in Japan, with a tri-lingual version of "Think of Me" -- she started it in French, did the majority of the song in Japanese, and then finished it in English. She handled the Japanese surprisingly well, I thought; she didn't have the accent that most English-speakers seem to when learning Japanese. :)

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby 23623 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:07 am

Kind of off topic but I became super enthusiastic about French POTO after hearing that one of the managers would be played by the Javert (I forget his super long Dutch name, something like Van Der Dr...se?) in the 2008 Amsterdam production. That guy is...really interesting. If you haven't watched his Suicide, DO IT. He will make your day I promise. Hands down the funniest Suicide I've ever seen. :lol:

That said, I can totally see him play the theater managers. He's just...too funny for a role like Javert and a show like Les Mis. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:59 am

Heh... This isn't to do with the stage musical, but I thought I'd post it here.

So the new Mummy remake with Tom Cruise is apparently the start of an expanded universe, because everyone's doing them nowadays. In this case, Universal Studios is putting together a "Dark Universe" with new takes on their classic monsters. Why? Who knows? But according to this article, one of the "monsters" being added to their list of proposed movies is our dear Phantom. (And o hai, Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll... Thank everything they probably won't be doing the musical version of that! :lol: )

In case it wasn't clear, I'm not all that enthused about this. But hey, the new Mummy is getting terrible reviews; so their Dark Universe may end before they get around to ruining "reinterpreting" the Opera Ghost.

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Olivia_y » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:26 pm

Going to watch this for the first time next week!

Not familiar with any of the current case even though a lot of them are Les Mis alumni. I think the only one I've seen live is Luke McCall (as Feuilly and Enjolras, and he's also covered JVJ a few times).

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:00 am

Ah, cool! Hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think! I'd love the chance to see either LM or POTO (or better yet, both!) on the West End. :D

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Olivia_y » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:56 pm

So I saw the London Production (Her Majesty's Theatre) the other night, and while I did enjoy the show, it's probably not one I'd go back again and and for. I can definitely understand why people love it though - it's very dramatic, almost over-the-top in its theatrical extravagance. It's colourful and bright with shiny costumes, elaborate sets, and choreographed dance numbers - basically all the things most people picture when they think 'musical'.

Also, even though I know there are a lot of people who are fans of both Les Mis and PotO, I can also understand why a lot of Phans don't take to Les Mis so well - by comparison the Les Mis sets are much simpler (aside from the barricade, which I think amazing but it's not exactly colourful or dynamic), the closest thing it gets to fancy costumes and choreography is during Marius' wedding - and even then none of those are shiny. So yeah, if those are the elements people find important for enjoyment then maybe Les Mis isn't for them.

On the show itself: to be honest, the only musical number I really liked is the title theme - it gave me the chills and I couldn't stop humming it afterwards (it's probably going to be stuck in my head for days). But I didn't really take to the other songs even though I really tried to get into them. I know MotN, AIAoY etc are iconic and all, but none of them grabbed me the way PotO did.

Ben Forster was on as the Phantom, and I know his Phantom has great reviews but his voice...just wasn't really what I imagined. He was a great singer, but didn't sound all that threatening (although maybe that was an acting choice?). I've watched the 25th Anniversary performance and I think Ramin's voice fit the character better (I certainly liked him more as the Phantom than as Valjean or Enjolras).

Celinde Schoenmaker was on as Christine, and I've read a lot of praise for her - not just in PotO but in general, so I went in with quite high expectations - and I thought she absolutely smashed them. I can't honestly say I love the character of Christine, but Celinde was fascinating to watch - vulnerable, passionate and just that little bit unstable. She is every bit as fantastic as the hype suggests and I really wish I'd been in London when she played Fantine.

I feel like I should say something about Nadim Naaman as Raoul, but really I thought the character was terribly bland (even though I have no complaints about his singing or his voice). The side characters were all pretty great, and I was more interested in their scenes than the love song stuff.

Actually, the whole love triangle plot in general makes me uncomfortable - but in a good way (if that makes sense) - like, I didn't feel as if the Phantom's obsession with Christine is meant to be interpreted as a romantic thing. I never understood it when people shipped the two of them, but thought maybe if I saw it in the context of the musical I'd get it...instead it made me even more averse to the idea.

A note on the audience: I felt like they weren't as enthusiastic as the ones from Les Mis (but maybe that was just one of those nights), like when during curtain calls there the applause was more polite than enthusiastic, and the only cheers were for Celinde and Ben. Also, someone took a photo with flash at one point during the second act, which was just all sorts of wrong.

So overall...I probably won't be going back (although I plan on finding some recordings of that damn title theme) anytime soon unless a performer I really love takes over one of the major roles, but it's a great show and I'd definitely recommend it to people as something to experience if they get the opportunity to do so.

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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Morbidmuch_ » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:02 am

I've been a Phantom fan for a long time, but it's never moved me the way that Les Mis does. For me, there's no comparison.
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:40 am

Yeah, indeed. I love both shows, and both have had a huge impact on my childhood/teen years and so I think I'll always have kind of a basic emotional level or baseline for each of them; but I find that it's very easy for LM to get me over that line -- at the very least, even if the cast isn't great, the finale will nearly always do it for me. POTO, by contrast, needs to work much harder for me to look past the spectacle and care deeply about the characters. There are quite a few casts that have achieved that for me, but there are also many that haven't. And some of that may be whether the actors play their characters closely enough to those in the novel to make me draw that connection while watching/listening to them. In recent years, it seems to me that something may have shifted in the way actors playing the Phantom are being directed -- several in the UK and US appear to be playing up the over-the-top and potentially campy aspects and minimizing the Phantom's potential for danger and violence, and what I've seen of Ben Forster in the role seems to be along those lines. The new touring production may be avoiding that, but has its own issues as well and seems to be going *too* gritty and down-to-earth in some ways.


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